Beartriz the redoubtable troubadour

Unsung Heroine is a new performance piece which explores the imagined history of the redoubtable 12th-century woman troubadour Beatriz de Dia.

Part of the Brighton Early Music @ the Fringe series in Brighton Festival Fringe, the concert is in St Andrew’s Church, Waterloo Street, Brighton on May 15 at 7.30pm (

“Women composers are in the minority even today,” explains writer Clare Norburn. “So imagine how extraordinary Beatriz and her fellow trobairitz (a group of 16-plus women who performed and created songs and poems in the 12th century) were.

“Beatriz and her contemporaries were effectively singer-songwriters: all this, in an age when women were largely subject to the power of their husbands and had hardly any direct control over even the smallest aspects of their lives!”

The performance features medieval ensemble The Telling who will perform the plaintive love songs of the troubadours and trouveres of France along with foot-stomping medieval dances.

It also features actress Patience Tomlinson, a regular voice on BBC Radio 4, as Beatriz.

“Unsung Heroine is described as an imagined history because we know so little about her life,” explains playwright Clare Norburn. Clare is also a singer with The Telling, as well as being Brighton Early Music Festival’s co-artistic director.

“The tale takes the small snippets we guess about Beatriz’s life and combines them with ideas in the extremely passionate poetry she wrote and also with key themes and ideas which occur throughout the repertoire of troubadour poetry.

“It’s also a ghost story in part. In the play, Beatriz is a ghostly presence watching us in 2011: she is trapped, forced forever to attend performances of her music and to relive the story of her passionate affair with troubadour Raimbaut d’Aurenga and his betrayal. The piece has its lighter moments too, though. There are lots of foot-stomping dances and romantic encounters too.”

Tickets: £12 (£10 concs) from or 01273 709709 or 01273 917272 and on the door.